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Core Work, But Not As We Know It

Written by Helly Metcalfe


Helly is a certified women's Life Coach. Her method empowers clients to find a clear path through the overwhelm, set long-term goals and mini actions and make long-lasting changes. She supports women to manage the juggle of work/life/parenting, build stress resilience and find acceptance around life's curveballs. She believes that coaching can be a powerful part of your village whilst you're busy raising the future.



Values was the very first module I studied in my life coach diploma with The Coaching Academy. To be honest, I went into it with a bit of a sigh and an eye roll. I held preconceptions from years of in my previous work roles – thinking of them as ‘corporate values’ drummed into me, ‘charitable values’ rolled out to potential funders , ‘brand values’ which ranged from high level strategy to getting exactly the right shade of blue in all marketing comms….not to mention ‘as a valued customer please could you rate your delivery today? It did feel a little dry, dusty and well, a little overused. I was sceptical and approached them with caution.


As I embarked on the course however, I was proved very wrong. A few chinks of light started to dawn on me, planting seeds of inspiration, all linking back to this little word, Values: things that meant something to me, things I held dear, things that truly motivated me. The really important, interesting stuff in life. The things that filled my cup and put fire in my belly, the non-negotiables I couldn’t live without. Suddenly, the language around Values threw a whole new perspective on it – and I was hooked.

In that first module we covered:

  • Core values: literally, what is at ‘the core of you?’ - kicking off group discussion

  • Which values have driven – or prevented – major life decisions –sparking some deep reflection

  • Origins of values: are they truly yours, or have you been influenced by others?

  • The Values you have as a child/teenager: Have they changed? Why?


We considered the above both in listening partnerships as well as a whole group. What I realised was, rather than Values being a superficial buzzword, they were actually the key to unlocking deep discussion for us as Coaches, as well as providing huge potential for engaging clients too. I came away with knowledge, a fresh perspective and what felt like a whole new system to guide my own life plans and decisions which I didn’t previously have. Not bad for a days webinar eh?


Two years and over 150 hours of coaching later, all my clients will know what a big part Values play in our sessions. I truly believe they are a strong inner compass-point for many people when working through change or growth. They work particularly effectively when clients start with me saying ‘I don’t have a goal’ or ‘I don’t know where to start’. When I hear that I have to say I jump for joy – and often means the coaching process will be more impactful for that client. My approach when coaching is: you show up as you, wherever you are at right now, and I help you untangle the knots and form a plan. And what underpins this, guides it, keeps it all on track? It’s your Values. Or at least, it can be a very good place to start.


One quick and easy place to start is this great exercise, that you can try today.


All you need is a pen, paper, and an open mind:


1.     Begin a MEGA list of values from all areas of life – work, family, relationships, hobbies etc – this is your chance to add, add, add!

2.     (NB: nothing is off limits as to what is ‘important’ enough – Values like ‘cycling’, ‘good coffee’, ‘cuddling pets’ come up A LOT, and I am very much here for them).

3.     Keep adding to it over a week or so with anything that comes up.

4.     Take another few days to try and cut down to your top 8 values – things that bring you joy and you couldn’t live without – the ones at the core of you. Be ruthless!

5.     You now have your 8 core Values down on paper – ready to scrutinise, reflect on where you’re at with them all – and crucially where you want to be.


This exercise acts as an audit of where you are in your life right now. Although it is just the first step in starting to set goals and make change, I truly believe it is the most vital place to start: to know yourself, what makes you tick, and provides the solid starting point for your coaching journey to flourish.



For more information on our programmes and to find out how we could support your students, please visit our Programmes page.

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